Did ABC's Back in the Game Hit a Home Run?

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Back in the GameIf you’re a fan of an “anything you can do” approach to the gender war, then you’re in luck — the female protagonist of ABC’s new father-daughter baseball comedy Back in the Game (which premiered Wednesday at 8:30/7:30c) shouts “Yes, I can!” in response to all of the challenges her sexist surroundings hurl her way. But was the show a grand slam or a strike-out for you?

A brief recap: After a messy divorce, Terry (Maggie Lawson, Psych) is forced to take her son, Danny (Griffin Gluck, Private Practice), and move back in with her beer-guzzling, racoon-feeding, ex-athlete father, “The Cannon” (James Caan, Las Vegas).

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Terry was a star softball player in college, and her father’s obsession with the game ruined her childhood. So when Danny expresses an interest in America’s pastime, his mom is concerned; she doesn’t want stolen bases to turn into a stolen childhood for him, too. After Danny flubs his try-outs and doesn’t make the team, however, Terry realizes how badly he wants to play.  So she and boozy Brit Lulu (Lenora Crichlow, Being Human) convince misogynist coach Dick (Ben Koldyke, Work It) — via a baseball to the face — to let her coach a B-team.

Thus begins the Bad New Bears portion of our program. Terry and her father bond over coaching this island of misfit boys, allowing Danny and Lulu’s effete son Michael (J.J. Totah, Jessie) to play ball.

Although Lawson is charmingly wry, Caan reliably gruff and Crichlow amusingly bawdy, Game‘s outdated humor earns it more errors than hits. Michael’s Gaga-loving persona is presented as something worthy of mockery and derision; Terry warns the boys that people are going to call them “weird, and creepy, and foreign, and ga– feminine” — but it’s the show itself that is cruelest to its misfits, telling them that being different is tantamount to being wrong.

The episode’s funniest joke is an extended riff on how long it takes Dick to… recover between at-bats; we hope that, like him, a bit of time is all that’s needed for this show hit one into the bleachers.

But enough about what we thought: What was your take on Back in the Game? Grade the episode via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!



Comments (49)

  • I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Comment by Sarah – September 25, 2013 06:05 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I thought it was perfect. Amazing that ABC picked up something as great as this, and something as bad as Super Fun Night.

    Comment by Zach – September 25, 2013 06:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I forgot it was on. But I will watch when it’s up on Hulu tomorrow. :D

    Comment by Esaul – September 25, 2013 06:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Its already on hulu and was an early premiere. It was excellent and you should definitely check it out!

      Comment by David – September 25, 2013 06:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Oh wow, I didn’t realize that. Thanks :D Gonna watch after my SVU then >:)

        Comment by Esaul – September 25, 2013 06:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • In my opinion, it’s three strikes and this sitcom is out.

    Comment by Flacco Kaepernick – September 25, 2013 06:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Seriously – what does that even mean?

      Comment by Lauren – September 25, 2013 06:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • That I prefer not to answer that silly old question Lauren whoever you are. Stop acting like a wannabe critic and deal with your own business. Get it, got it, good.

        Comment by Flacco Kaepernick – September 25, 2013 06:34 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Why are all your comments stupid?

          Comment by Zach – September 25, 2013 06:38 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Don’t be so mean Zach. Pay attention, stop using rude comments like that, quit whining and complaining and don’t try to lie towards me.

            Comment by Flacco Kaepernick – September 25, 2013 06:44 PM PDT  
          • I do pay attention. That’s why I noticed they are stupid. I am not lying. I think they are stupid.

            Comment by Zach – September 25, 2013 07:24 PM PDT  
        • You think that just because you can make a baseball reference you can call yourself a critic and judge everyone else?

          Comment by Anna Mara Hrgetic – September 26, 2013 03:21 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • While I disagree on your opinion, a good one liner

      Comment by Sokratis – September 25, 2013 06:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • What do you mean you disagree whoever your name is…Sokratis. Back in the Game is downright terrible and it really was a “swing and a miss”. Guess I’ll be thrown out for this sitcom throughout the entire series for good. :-( Now pay attention to what I have to say.

        Comment by Flacco Kaepernick – September 25, 2013 06:41 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I agree that it will be cancelled, but what the hell is wrong with you? You seem really desperate to get your weird point across.

          Comment by Robb – September 26, 2013 01:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • i totally agree. i’m hoping it fouls out on the second pitch though. this show was UNBEARABLE. but i saw these Cullen guys did last season’s “Work It” and they did that horrible movie “Cop Out.” must be a shortage of good writers in Hollywood or they’re sleeping with some executives…

      Comment by George Davis – September 26, 2013 10:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I thought it was one of the better comedy of the fall shows.

    Comment by Amz – September 25, 2013 06:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I find your review a lot different the the first impression done by this site, and that’s what I am going with. I understand it has Bad News Bears vibes but there is no “Bad News Bears portion” because it’s not about the team, they AREN’T getting better, it’s about the family! I found this show very enjoyable and likeable, I hope it continues on this season!

    Comment by Anon – September 25, 2013 06:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree, Matt’s post about this show was far better and more accurate imo.

      Comment by Aly – September 25, 2013 09:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree with you and disagree with the reviewer’s assessment. I think the greater message Terry is trying to give the boys is to stand up for themselves and not let the bullies get the better of them. I found Michael’s persona endearing and appreciate that the character’s mother is encouraging him to be himself instead of trying to get him to hide it. I wish they could assign reviewers to shows they actually enjoyed, or at the very least they could pretend to be objective.

      Comment by Meredith – September 25, 2013 09:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I forget which site but they hit it on the nose with their review about this show and exactly what you said. How even though they have no talent in baseball and were cut from the other teams because of this and their quirky personalities, this team, the Angles, will allow them to both play baseball and not have to hide those personalities, they will be allowed to be who they are. And Terry and the coach is going to let them :)

        Comment by Anon – September 26, 2013 05:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I wasnt all that interested in seeing back In the game, but it was on after the Middle, so We just kept it on. I’m glad we did. I really enjoyed it. It had some funny & cute moments. It was an easy watch & I think one of the better new comedies. I hope ABC gives it a chance because I see a lot of potential.

    Comment by Kate – September 25, 2013 06:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I thought it was awesome! Funny and irreverent, but you can tell it’s also got heart. Considering this was the pilot, I thought it was an especially good showing. Good writing and a great cast, it’s hands down my favorite new show this fall!

    Comment by dork4tv – September 25, 2013 08:26 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Fans if psych will see a completely different Maggie Lawson. She is great

    Comment by Jake – September 25, 2013 08:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It’s good to Lenora Crichlow again.She was Annie on the original Being Human

    Comment by Keith – September 25, 2013 08:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It’s a comedy, so it automatically stinks.

    Comment by Alex – September 25, 2013 08:47 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So far, “The Cannon” is the best curmudgeonly character since Archie Bunker.

    Comment by Matt Hickman (@hemo_jr) – September 25, 2013 10:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I love Maggie Lawson from Psych and I always enjoy watching James Caan. But I have to agree with the review above, it seemed really stale and canned with antiquated stereotypes. I’ll give it a couple more episodes though, because sometimes it takes a little while for a show to find it’s groove. Hopefully it can throw a few curveballs to make it more interesting.

    Comment by Amanda – September 25, 2013 11:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I thought it was AWFUL. Worst pilot i have seen in years and Maggie Lawson is wasting her comedic talent on this. Unoriginal, uninspired and cheesy, not to mention cringe worthy At least Maggie is still on Psych and has Juliet as well, O’Hara will be her greatest legacy. This i am afraid will not. Thumbs down from me. Back in the Game is a dud!

    Comment by Jay – September 26, 2013 05:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • We all know you didn’t like it, we knew you didn’t like it all the way from the first impression, so stop spamming this show with your hate/stop watching/ and get on with your life. Allow those who enjoyed it to enjoy it…

      Comment by Anon – September 26, 2013 05:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • “Spamming”?
        Pretty sure that is his first comment on this page. Let him have his opinion and stop wasting your time/life on him. Allow those who didn’t enjoy it, have their opinion.

        Comment by Robb – September 26, 2013 06:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Thanks Robb :)

          Comment by Jay – September 26, 2013 01:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • If you see all of his other posts on other sites and on tvline (including a poll for our fandom name) he has continually been hating on the show, he didn’t like it before he even saw it so you don’t know what you are talking about. And I am not wasting my time/life on him btw!

          Comment by Anon – September 26, 2013 02:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I believe Anon didn’t mean this page, I think she meant the show and all the reviews about the show. He has felt the need to comment on how much he hates it on almost everything…

          Comment by Grace – September 26, 2013 02:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It was OK, a good family show so a good fit with The Middle, not very funny but a lot better productions than Mom and Dads and a lot less dirty jokes (Im looking at you too 2 broke girls)

    Comment by Roger Canada – September 26, 2013 05:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Trying to watch It On Demand; it’s not there. Think it will show up later? I don’t have Hulu. :-(

    Comment by Melanie – September 26, 2013 07:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • It’s free on iTunes!

      Comment by Lyss – September 26, 2013 02:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • If I laugh out loud a few times, then it’s good enough for me. The British friend was funny. I think it has the makings of a successful sitcom. It’s not Modern Family, but they set the bar pretty high.

    Comment by pam – September 26, 2013 08:08 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I wanted to hate it so that Maggie will go back to Psych but I couldn’t. It had the most and best laughs of any show I watched last night.

    Comment by Justin – September 26, 2013 10:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Maggie is still doing Psych as well, she is on both shows. Season 8 of Psych has already been filmed and will air next year… Juliet isn’t going anywhere, even Maggie said so last night on twitter Maggie is still very much on Psych and in fact next season is going to be a strong season for Juliet. Oh an to the crazy anon, i am not the only one that thinks this show is awful as you can see for yourself. Just because you are a crazy fan i’ll let it go but we are all entitled to our opinions and i am not spamming at all. One comment is not spamming. Thank you. I love Maggie, i am a huge fan and supporter, but i think this was a bad move for her career.

      Comment by Jay – September 26, 2013 01:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Turned it off half way through. Watching Maggie Lawson throw a ball is like watching a 6 yr old not someone who supposedly was a star athlete. Show is not funny will be surprised if it lasts 10 episodes

    Comment by Ethel – September 26, 2013 10:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree 100%

      Comment by Jay – September 26, 2013 01:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Um, Maggie played softball growing up and was a pitcher, so she is most certainly adequate at throwing a baseball…

      Comment by Lyss – September 26, 2013 02:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Loved Maggie. James Caan basically plays himself in that role.

    Comment by HAP – September 26, 2013 01:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • BACK IN THE GAME IS HILARIOUS!

    First episode set the direction, and I can’t wait to find out how the kids do,
    how the relationship evolves between father and daughter, and what
    mischief comes next…..

    What a fabulous show!

    Susie.

    Comment by Susie Singer – September 26, 2013 07:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Was shocked to listen to the sons language. He cussed with his mom, said things like I am screwed etc.. i know that nowadays people look at that and shrug th eir shoulders like its no big deal…. for me that is still behavior I don’t find acceptable, not for my kids nor do I want to listen to someone else’s trashy talking kids.

    I wont tne in if the children n the show continue to cuss and act like trash.

    Comment by edlow – September 27, 2013 10:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Really, edlow? This type of language offends you? I’m not trying to be mean here, but what shows do/can you watch? Seriously.

    Back on topic: GREAT show!!! Love it! My new favorite show. Episode 2 showed comedy and a touch of drama with a great score. Please let this run, ABC. You give us decent shows all of the time only to pull them if they are not in the Top Ten. Let this one live!

    Comment by Puddin34 – October 3, 2013 03:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This was a promising comedy… a family comedy. However, in the third episode it took a turn to the dark side. The humor was so crude and targeted to the wrong audience. What a shame.

    Comment by Don – October 11, 2013 06:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I am really disappinted with this last episode….

    Comment by Sandra – October 15, 2013 06:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

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